Today I was given a very precious gift.
Pinkela is away on camp, and my (beautiful, kind, generous) mother agreed to pick up Little Man and Boo for me so that I could have the whole afternoon to myself. An empty house.
Things have been pretty crazy recently. I've edited my first book for the UK release, edited my second book for it's Aussie release, written three regular columns, and taken on a new writing project, as well as several other bits and pieces that have flown in at different times.
Oh, and I've looked after my three children, their father, the house we live in, the finances, the bills, the laundry, the shopping, our social lives, and pretty much everything else.
I. Am. Exhausted.
I need a break, desperately. And whilst a real break isn't coming for a while, I realised that today was the first day without a deadline looming, and that I could afford to take a few hours off.
I'd been up at 5.45am to get Pinkela to camp and the others to school, then had a meeting with my publishers. I got home at 11.30am and realised: This is it. This is my chance to relax. Do it.
But I pretty much had forgotten how.
I wandered around the house for a while, occasionally tidying, or wiping a surface with a cloth. And then I sat down on the couch and thought, What now?
I didn't know. It felt.... odd. Discordant. Where was my computer?
I watched an episode of Modern Family and then one of Sex And The City (the Modern Family I hadn't seen, the SATC I'd seen around 17 times), both in slight agitation. I was enjoying the shows, but something was wrong.
I didn't feel relaxed enough.
I decided to try to nap. I went upstairs and lay on the bed.
I couldn't sleep.
I COULDN'T SLEEP!
What was happening to me? I fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow! I fall asleep BEFORE my head hits the pillow! I fall asleep at my desk with Boo yelling in my ear and my laptop grinding a dent in my forehead.
WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME?
The answer, people, was guilt. Guilt was what was happening to me. Guilt for taking an afternoon off. Guilt for doing nothing. Guilt for stopping.
Guilt is bad. Guilt is a useless, stupid emotion. I shouldn't feel guilty for taking time off. I shouldn't feel guilty for stopping. I deserve some relaxation and I deserve to stop and enjoy my life. And I deserve a nap, god damnit, even if my tick-tick-ticking brain won't pause for a moment and let me.
So from now on, I'm having a rostered afternoon off every fortnight. It's going in my diary. I'm going to watch TV and lay in bed and roast marshmallows and eat bonbons (okay, so I may have lied about the marshmallow part).
Life is short and guilt is stupid and Sex And The City is on endless rerun on pay TV. And I am going to learn to enjoy it.